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A BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH OF PROFESSOR
J. LAWRENCE SMITH.*
BY J. B. MARVIN, M. D.
J. Lawrence Smith was born near Charleston, S. C., December 17, 1818. At an early age he manifested great taste for mathematics; when four years old he could do sums in addition and multiplication with great rapidity. This was some time before he could read. At eight years of age he was prepared for the study of algebra, and at thirteen years was studying calculus. His knowledge and taste for mathematics continued throughout life. He pursued his studies in the best private schools of Charleston; afterward he was sent to the University of Virginia, where he enjoyed facilities for the indulgence of his taste for mathematics. In the latter part of his academic career he devoted himself to the higher branches of physics, mixed mathematics, and chemistry, studying the latter rather as a recreation. He selected civil engineering as a profession, and after devoting two years to the study of its various branches in connection with geology and mining engineering, he was employed as an assistant engineer on the railroad projected at that time between Cincinnati and Charleston. This pursuit not. proving congenial with his scientific tastes, he determined to study medicine. After studying three years, he was graduated Doctor in Medicine by the Charleston Medical College, an institution possessing at that time a corps of distinguished medical teachers. Dr. Smith then went to Europe, where he devoted three more years to the study of medicine. During all this time he continued his devotion to those departments which first enlisted his scientific affections. He studied physiology under Flourens and Longet; chemistry under Orfila, Dumas, and Liebig; physics under Pouillet, Desprez, and Becquerel; mineralogy and geology under Elie de
* Prepared by request for the American Academy of Arts and Sciences of Boston, Feb. 1884. Printed by John P. Morton & Co., Louisville, Ky., 1884.